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The number of elderly aged 80 or older topped 8 million for the first time, the internal affairs ministry said in a report released Sunday.

The estimate, based on results of the 2005 census and births and deaths reported to municipalities, also found that a record-high 23.1 percent of the population was aged 65 or above as of Wednesday.

The tallies are probably accurate despite the Justice Ministry’s admission earlier this month that 234,354 registered centenarians can’t be found, because the estimates aren’t based on the unreliable resident registry system, a ministry official claimed.

The number of elderly people 65 or older came to a record high 29.44 million, up 460,000 from the previous year, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said, bumping its ratio to the total population of 127 million up by about 0.4 point. The estimate was released before Respect-for-the-Aged Day holiday on Monday.

Of all elderly, defined as those aged 65 or over, 12.58 million were men, accounting for 20.3 percent of the male population and topping 20 percent for the first time, and 16.85 million were women, accounting for 25.8 percent of the female population, the ministry said.

Those aged 80 or above have grown about 22 times in number over the past six decades, compared with 370,000 in 1950, it said.

The ratio of people aged 65 or older who still work is also rising, with 5.65 million employed as of last year. Of those, 3.19 million were employees, including 1.58 million part-timers and other nonregular workers, up 620,000 from 2004.

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